Sam Winslow

Founder, Cowering Dog

Jul. 30, 2020

Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), Francisco Goya, c. 1799

Hey Sam, it's the start of 2020 and I have some news for you. Those hobbies of yours? Yeah, graphic design, browsing deep through the Spotify catalog, building websites from scratch — you're going to start taking them a lot more seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. New Years is just around the corner and you still have time to make a resolution. Resolve to focus on yourself.

Focus, but don't perseverate, on your own shortcomings so you can learn how to overcome them. Excercise, because your mind and body are one big unit. Take some time off, and spend it with that beautiful girl you met who somehow thinks you're okay. You saw her in Florence a couple months ago, and a year from your first date you will still be together.

You're going to start a project called Tunestack, well, actually you’re going to get high and start giggling at the sound of "Tune Sack," like a bag of fresh music to pull out at the party. Oh, a quarter of the way through the year you won't be pulling out anything at parties, because your life will shrink to a Zoom screen. So much for the Tune Sack — hello to starting a virtual world in lines of code.

You're going to have many weeks where you think the highest highs and the lowest lows on the same damn day. You'll have a thousand jolts out of bed with lucid certainty of what to do, and a thousand more jolts of abject fear. At times you will feel like a cowering animal, like a dog trapped inside without its owner, scratching at the door until you hurt your paws.

You're going to write so much code that you forget how to speak English for a day, grunting and signaling your desires in two-word phrases. You're going to Google "carpal tunnel syndrome" twenty-five times. Then, you'll have days where you can hardly get out of bed, only to be up all night staring at your MacBook on Dark Mode.

That feeling — of people discovering your system, this made up thing that came out of your head and the contributions of mentors and friends — is what will keep you going this year. It is nearly orgasmic. If you can create something that even ten people enjoy, you have made a positive mark on the world.

And don't we all need positivity. Your present worries about the future are going to be upended by forces that strike once in a lifetime. (Hopefully.)

Just keep going. Build at the crossroads of what you enjoy and what others need. There is only learning ahead of you.


Written in July 2020, as if it were a New Years resolution that could predict the future.